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A guide to ignition interlock devices

Sep 1, 2023 | DUI

Ignition interlock devices are just one of many penalties people can face after a DUI conviction. Understanding how these devices work is key to remaining in the good graces of the law after an arrest.

While IIDs do offer some benefits, they are not completely infallible. This guide explains how these devices function to help you comply with the legal ramifications of DUI.

What are ignition interlock devices?

IIDs are small devices installed in a vehicle’s dashboard. Their purpose is to test the driver’s breath for any traces of alcohol before allowing the engine to start. The device acts as a safeguard, as it ensures that only sober drivers can get behind the wheel.

How do IIDs work?

When a driver enters the vehicle and attempts to start the engine, the IID requires a breath sample. If the device detects alcohol levels above a predetermined threshold, the engine will not start. On the other hand, if the breath sample meets the set criteria for sobriety, the engine starts as usual.

IIDs also require drivers to provide periodic breath samples during trips to ensure continuous sobriety.

Why are IIDs used?

IIDs serve the following purposes:

  • Ensure legal compliance with DUI penalties
  • Reduce future DUI incidents
  • Promote responsible driving behaviors

IIDs also allow drivers with DUI convictions to retain their driving privileges, as opposed to facing a suspended license.

Are IIDs completely reliable?

While a common penalty for DUI convictions, many people have concerns about the validity of these devices. For instance, malfunctions and problems with installation can result in the device not working correctly. As a result, a person may be unable to start their vehicle and face new penalties even when in compliance.

Submitting to a breath test while driving is also a driving distraction. Accordingly, some people posit that IIDs can actually increase the risk of accidents.

Per Forbes, approximately 27% of motorists experienced a severe or fatal car crash linked to alcohol. In the pursuit of safer roads and responsible driving, IIDs offer a technological solution. However, some issues can arise during operation.